Holladay Artist of the Month Sheri Lyn Sohm paints symbols of the soulFeb 03, 2022 03:15PM ● By Sona Schmidt Harris
Sheri Lyn Sohm displays a painting she created of her beloved dog. (Sona Schmidt-Harris/City Journals)
By Sona Schmidt-Harris | [email protected]
With sensitive eyes moving above her COVID-19 mask, it is easy to see why Sheri Lyn Sohm would be both a good artist and teacher. In fact, she has taught art to both school children and adults. At the University of Utah, she was an instructor of an OSHER class. Sohm approaches her students with the same creativity with which she approaches the canvas.
“I was an exhibiting watercolor artist during the ’80s then spent much of my creative energy teaching students in the gifted education program until recently retiring,” Sohm said. “I’ve been so excited to take up art again.”
Taught by her grandmother how to paint, Sohm became the designated artist of her school classes. “As a kid, if you could draw, you were the artist of the classroom,” she said. “And so if any art needed to be done, they’d call, ‘Sheri, come here. You draw the art.’”
Though she was proud to be “the class artist,” Sohm realized that it precluded other children in the class from pursuing their artistic gifts. If they just had some lessons and learned a few tricks, she believed that the other children could draw as well.
In addition to her careers in teaching and art, Sohm also worked as an illustrator for a small advertising company where a design of hers, a root beer float for Fernwood’s, appeared on a local billboard. Her art has also appeared at the annual Springville Exhibit, and she had a two-person show at the Loge Gallery at Pioneer Memorial Theater.
Though honored by accolades and exhibits, it is not what motivates Sohm. Her natural impulse is to create. Recently, a wall in the living room of her home started to crack, so a rectangular hole was cut to make sure water wasn’t creeping in. Sohm saw it and thought, “Wow! That is so beautiful—the pink insulation, caulking between the cinderblock, the boards and nails holding the whole thing together. I just had to find a canvas of the same size as the hole and paint an image that matched the ‘whole in the wall.’ Artists are a little weird,” she said.
Sohm harnesses her “weird” impulses to create symbolic art. Sometimes she understands what she wants the images to say and sometimes figures out what they mean after painting them. For instance, Sohm painted an intriguing piece with an antique china doll, a ribbon of rainbow color of varying intensity, a ruler, a match at different stages of its existence (unstruck, burning and then burnt out), triangles/pyramids and three lines that vanish behind the doll’s head. After finishing the painting, she believed that the images represented time.
Though Sohm is drawn to symbolism, she also enjoys painting landscapes, animals and still lifes. These and other works will be displayed at Holladay City Hall in February. Some will be for sale.
If you would like to nominate a Holladay resident for Artist of the Month, visit: holladayarts.org/suggest-an-artist.